After more than a year of navigating the myriad orders impacting Pennsylvania businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wolf administration has announced that it will lift all mitigation orders, except masking, on May 31, 2021. Although the announcement was sparse on detail, its general nature suggests that the following mitigation mandates – which we have covered in detailed previously – will be lifted this Memorial Day.

  • Remote work

Although remote work was mandated unless impossible for a period of time, the Governor’s amended order of April 1, 2021 modified this requirement to only “strongly encourage” businesses to conduct their operations, in whole or in part, via telework. Effective May 31, 2021, businesses may be permitted to resume their normal in-person operations without restriction.

  • Business and building safety requirements for businesses with in-person operations.

Adhering to enhanced cleaning, sanitation, and operational requirements throughout the pandemic has presented a number of practical issues for businesses. Most recently, Governor Wolf’s November 27, 2020 Order set forth a number of enhanced cleaning and mitigation protocols for businesses maintaining in-person operations, including altering business hours to provide sufficient time to clean; wiping down carts and handbaskets before they become available to customers for use; staggering check-out counters and registers to allow for hourly cleaning; implementing temperature screenings before employees enter the business prior to the start of each shift; staggering employee break times; conducting meetings and trainings virtually; and scheduling handwashing breaks as necessary.
Continue Reading Pennsylvania businesses may need to finalize reopening plans

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, many U.S. businesses remain shuttered or operating at reduced levels. While the ultimate decision to allow employees to return to “in-person” work will likely involve a staggered, multi-faceted, jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction approach, on April 16, 2020, the federal government nevertheless announced a three-phase plan for “reopening America,” including guidance for state and local officials.

In the first phase, businesses are encouraged to continue remote work, returning to “in-person” work in phases. For businesses that do reopen “in-person” operations, common areas should remain closed and strict social distancing protocols should be enforced. Non-essential travel should remain limited. Special accommodations are recommended for workers who are at high risk. In the second phase, business should continue to encourage remote work and, for “in-person” operations, keep common areas closed. Moderate social distancing protocols should be enforced and businesses can resume non-essential business travel. Special accommodations for high risk workers should continue. During the third phase, in states and regions with no evidence of a rebound of COVID-19 cases, employers can resume unrestricted “in-person” staffing of worksites.
Continue Reading What comes next: Reopening the workplace after COVID-19